Chip Music, Reviews

A Formal Introduction to Crashfaster: Disconnect (Review)

April 8, 2011 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook A Formal Introduction to Crashfaster: Disconnect (Review)on Twitter

We first experienced the chirpy music and playful vocal stylings of Crashfaster at the 8-Bit DOPE show in San Francisco at GDC where he was probably my favorite act of the night (sorry, Josh!). As it turns out, he’s recently put out his official album debut titled Disconnect on the Monobomb label, and what better time to check it out after being introduced to him at the show?

With seven tracks and a little over 30 minutes of music, does Crashfaster’s music stand up outside of the live performance setting? Find out in our review after the jump.

In case you don’t remember and are too lazy to jump back into our 8-Bit DOPE coverage, Crashfaster is Morgan Tucker, and what sets him apart from other performers is his use of a vocoder to provide vocaloid-style lyrics throughout his music.

The 7-track album opens with “Anthem,” a reflective theme with a descending melody. The track is immediately memorable, and I love the breakdown about midway through where all of the elements drop out except for these rich chip chords. The lyrics, “This is how it will end, leave it all behind, we delete ourselves, crash into the night” is an anthem of sorts for Crashfaster, and is a great opener to the album.

This is followed by the super upbeat “Time,” which was his opening piece from the 8-Bit DOPE show, and is what drew me to his sound right from the start. Catchy arpeggios give way to stifled arpeggiated ones with a repetitive bassline, giving the track a great sense of rhythm. The lyrics are playful, talking about the resistance to change. “Supernova” keeps with the upbeat sound, working in a heavily flanged bassline, although the star here is Crashfaster’s voice. I love the chorus section: “We burn bright, we burn fast, we’ll burn out, nothing lasts…” I’m very impressed with his lyrics throughout.

It’s not all rainbows and upbeat chip music, however. “Ascension” is a heavier electronic tune with a killer octave-jumping bassline and some snappy percussion. This one would be perfect for a club, and is one of my favorites on the album, showing off Crashfaster’s versatility. “Grind” is similarly club-like, chugging along without lyrics. There’s a certain unsettling quality about it with its spooky synth melodies and rhythmic saw synth accents.

The final track, “Sweetbread,” is written by Doctor Popular and performed by Crashfaster. The track has a great spacey quality about it with lots of reverb and this sharp arpeggio line, and once again, interesting lyrics. While I may have preferred to end on a more positive note, it’s still a great track.

Overall, I’m impressed with Crashfaster’s sense of melody, rhythm, and versatility. Even his tracks without lyrics stand out, indicating that the vocoder trick is not just some sort of gimmick. Disconnect is a great collection of tracks, and is available on Crashfaster’s bandcamp page for $0.99 as a download, and $10 as a physical CD. The physical release comes housed in a snazzy fold-out cardboard casing designed by minusbaby, and you’ll probably want this at least for the lyrics found inside.

Have you been drawn in by Crashfaster’s melodies and voice yet? Will you be picking up Disconnect and looking into his future releases?

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